Kalangala district has banned the use of power saws in an attempt to decrease tree cutting and protect forests there.
The decision was reached during the District Security Committee meeting chaired by Kalangala Resident District Commissioner, Daniel Kikoola at his office on Thursday morning.
The District Security Committee decried the rampant deforestation especially in the 31 forest reserves in Bugala sector under the National Forestry Authority (NFA). Richard Musisi, the Kalangala District Police Commander, says whereas several illegal loggers after often apprehended, the number of people buying power saws to cut trees in forest reserves is on the rise.
Sam Bareke, the Bugala Sector NFA Manager, complained that most of the people found cutting timber illegally and are pardoned return to the same crime. He proposed that the district finds alternative sources of income for those involved in illegal logging.
Kalangala has 31 forest reserves, some of which are located on distant islands. The district has 5 National Forestry Authority staff mandated to protect and preserve forests.
At least six people are arrested on average each day by the environmental Police and NFA staff for illegal lumbering. Now, the District security committee has directed all security operatives to arrest people found cutting down trees using power saws.
Willy Lugoloobi, the Kalangala District LC V Chairperson, also wants the enforcement of all regulations aimed at protecting forests.
The Kalangala District Forestry Officer, Maurice Bafiilawala told this publication it would be difficult to enforce the orders issued by the district security committee especially when those using power saws are licensed.
The National Forestry Authority (NFA) Act bars any person from using power saws in the national or private forest reserve without an operating license.